What I read in February 2024
Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood, 362p: This book made want to learn how to play chess! I didn't know anything about the world of professional chess, so it was interesting to learn. I loved that the characters show intellectual admiration for each other, instead of just physical attraction. There is friendship and love, although it starts with a competitive vibe to it. I wish the ending were longer, I wanted to know more details about their final chess tournament. Overall, I had lots of fun reading it, and it triggered feel-good emotions in me, I loved it!
A Master of Djinn (The Dead Djinn Universe #1) by P. Djèlí Clark, 431p: Interesting world building: alternate history Egypt with magic and djinn in 1912 Cairo. It's a murder mystery but I enjoyed the world building more than the characters. The main character, Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. She is investigating the murder of an English Basha, who is the Member of a Secret Brotherhood. The world is super rich with the Djinn having become integrated into society and magic allowed Egypt to become a powerful prominent economy. I figured out the murderer at about 60% and that made the book drag for me in the rest 40%. So, it was a bit annoying that Fatma was still going after false clues, getting lost in her search, while I already knew who the murderer was. Anyway, nice read but not one of my favorites.
Beach Read by Emily Henry, 361p: Somehow the title of this book didn't really match with the story for me. I don't know why that bothered me. The main character is dealing with grief, and she inherits her father's house by the water. It's meta in the sense that the two main characters are writers, and they struck a deal for each one to write a book out of their comfort zone. The woman is a romance writer who tries to write literary fiction, and the man writes literary fiction and attempts to write romance. I thought the pacing was terribly slow and the book didn't keep me always interested.
Divine Rivals (Letters of Enchantment #1) by Rebecca Ross, 368p: I loved this book! It was a five-stars read for me. I loved the idea of enchanted typewriters that can send letters! The two main characters are adorable, and it is such a lovely story about friendship, hardship, and love. So beautifully written without being excessively flowery. I felt a full range of emotions while reading this book: sadness, joy, grief, compassion, anger. I cried and I laughed. It just a sign of a really good book: when it can touch me so deeply without being depressing. I sympathized with the grief portrayed in this book, and it helped me deal with own feelings of grief that were buried deep inside. The love story is amazing! So adorable and so authentic! I loved the whole thing about exchanging letters, like unknown pen pals that somehow connect using words. I can't wait to read the second book! (it's a duology!)
Practical Meditation: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide by Giovanni Dienstmann, 185p: I enjoyed most of this book, it gives an overview of meditation practices from different traditions. There are gorgeous graphics inside explaining key concepts. I loved the “Mindful Mind Flow” diagram! One thing that I missed was an audio companion to the book (I read the e-book version). There are instructions on distinct types of meditation, but it is best to have listened to these instructions while we are meditating. Good reference book as an introduction to meditation, but I think it’s hard for a beginner to start without an audio guiding the meditations.
Post 81/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!
By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.